Inpris was founded in 2011 with the intent to develop a virtual keyboard that allows users to type effectively, regardless of where they are looking. With our modular Sightless-Touch technology we could have easily delved into a diversity of tech markets, such as: VR, smart household appliances, video games, wearables, etc.
Instead we applied our technology to the people that would benefit from it the most, the blind and visually impaired. In 2014 The Virtual Braille Keyboard was finished. More important than the awards and recognition the product garnered, was the positive impact on the blind and visually impaired community. The next step for Inpris was to use our patented touch technology to solve more problems for an even wider audience.
The natural route forward
The natural route forward was to implement our sightless interface into automobile touch based infotainment systems with the intent to drastically decrease driver distraction while increasing interactive efficiency. In 2014 we started meeting with automotive companies and HMI specialists, and after we received enough encouragement and integral suggestions we started working to make the idea a reality. Since then, the team has been researching, developing, and ergonomics testing, to make using the end product intuitive and reliable, with as little distraction as possible.
The idea of our Sightless-Touch system is simple, yet effective. Instead of using visual concentration to guide one finger to touch specific elements on a screen, the driver places three fingers anywhere on the screen, with the software automatically calibrating to their finger placement. Next, they remove two fingers, with a new menu materializing around the remaining finger. All the driver needs to do now is to swipe in the direction of one out of four options to select an action. The entire process will not take more than three seconds to complete, versus an average of 30 seconds of distraction to complete simple tasks using voice commands. With continued use, the driver will develop muscle memory and no longer be tempted divert their gaze from the road or even think too much in order to execute a command.
A feature of our interface is that the driver can use their smartphone to interact with as a proxy to the actual console, if they would like to use a touch screen in a more convenient place, such as next to the gear lever, instead of interacting with the central console. Inpris’ Sightless- Touch can also increase the efficiency of voice recognition systems, since the system already knows what kind of commands it should receive next, simply use different fingers to fluidly substitute voice actions, skipping many time consuming layers of verbal clarification; therefore reducing potential errors and driver distraction. The next generation of our interface would provide an additional touchpad conveniently on the steering wheel which would work in unison with a HUD to enable superior infotainment control and driver awareness, all while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.